Living For Such a Time as This

Henry Blackaby FCCI 2007 International Conference.


A Time For Obedience


Suggested Reading:


Experiencing God

The Man God Would Use


The Cost of obedience not only affects us, but also those around us.  Dr. Blackaby published the book “Experiencing God” in obedience to the command of God.  Recently a Chinese pastor was imprisoned for translating this book.  Dr. Blackaby’s obedience cost this Chinese pastor his freedom.


But no matter the cost of obedience to us or to others, disobedience is fatal.


1 Samuel 15:19 - 35 (NASB) 19“Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD?” 20Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the LORD, and went on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.  21“But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”  22Samuel said,     “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices     As in obeying the voice of the LORD?     Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,     And to heed than the fat of rams. 23    “For rebellion is as the sin of divination,     And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.     Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,     He has also rejected you from being king.” 24Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.  25“Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.”  26But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.”  27As Samuel turned to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore.  28So Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you.  29“Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”  30Then he said, “I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.”  31So Samuel went back following Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD. 32Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag, the king of the Amalekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”  33But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the LORD at Gilgal. 34Then Samuel went to Ramah, but Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul.  35Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.


Here God makes it very clear what He thinks of disobedience.  He likens disobedience to divination and witchcraft.  To disobey the voice of God is very serious and God alone determines the penalty for that disobedience.  Here Saul has the kingdom taken away from him.  It takes a while for the new king, but it is inevitable and king Saul will go down in history and one of the more sorry stories.


Immediate and full obedience is crucial in our lives because God will call you to times of simple, modest obedience that will have great consequences for you later.  If you past the test, you will see what God has in store for you later.  That is utterly true as I can attest in my life.  I have seen the glory of God because I have had those times of simple, modest obedience in my life.


Matthew 7:21 (NASB) 21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 


It is not our loud verbiage or self righteous talk that will get us into heaven, but our obedience to the will of the Father.  He who sees all knows how obedient we are, and He always tests us for us to see how we can be more obedient. 


1 Peter 1:14 - 16 (NASB) 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,  15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;  16because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


We are brought from darkness to light, from death to life and we enter into a vital, total union with Christ and He lives out His life through us.  His holiness becomes our holiness and we can be holy because His holiness lives in us.


Romans 6:22 - 23 (NASB) 22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.  23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We use this verse for witnessing to non-Christians, but we must remember that Romans was not written to non-Christians, but to Christians.  Unconfessed sin in our lives has very serious consequences.  It can lead to death.  Death in our spiritual life, in our ministries and even in our physical life.  We MUST come to grips with the sin in our lives and in our churches it has death in it.


I have seen this first hand.  I know of a church where a pastor is not connected to his church, but spends his time with the big money men of the church.  I have recently learned that he and the church administrator lied about others in the church to the church board.  This has caused a heavy demonic invasion of this church.  There are 12 people in the church with cancer including two of the pastors.  There have been miscarriages, marriage breakups, and rapid dwindling of those attending with the attendant reduction in budget.  This is very serious and can only be reversed by repentance and weeping before the Almighty God who sees all.  He will surely forgive and bless, but repentance must come quickly and not be covered over.  I love these men with all my heart and am praying for them.


Pastors are to train and equip their people to move into the marketplace and impact it in Kingdom of God ways.  Most churches are merely sheep pens and are all about tending the sheep with programs that please them and keep them penned at that church and not another.  It keeps their tithes there and not another church.  Pastors that seek the riches of money have lost the riches of the Kingdom of God.


Philippians 2:5 - 11 (NASB) 5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,  7but Łemptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,  10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Have this attitude in yourselves like as in Christ who “emptied” himself.  We dear children must be emptied of ourselves so we can be filled up with Him.  Obedience was the key in Jesus life that unlocked the Father’s purpose in His life and it is just the same with us.  Immediate and full obedience is absolutely crucial.


How do you want to learn obedience?  Do you want to learn it as Jesus did?


Hebrews 5:7 - 9 (NASB) 7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.  8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.  9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 


Do you see what this is saying?  In Gethsemane Jesus cried out
“Abba Father, if possible take this cup of suffering away from me!  Nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done.” 


Jesus leaned obedience and received the rewards of obedience  through His suffering and death on the cross.  We must remember that for us Gethsemane and the cross precedes Pentecost.  There are many piercings that precede the Kingdom power.  We must learn immediate and full obedience before we will see the glory of God.


John 14:15 (NASB) 15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.


John 14:21 (NASB) 21“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” 


John 14:23 - 24 (NASB) 23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.  24“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.


Here our Lord very thoroughly links together obedience and a love relationship with the Lord.  We obey Him because we love Him.  The Key to obedience is a love relationship with our Lord, it is nothing more nor less.


Let Him turn on the searchlight in our hearts and look into our whole being to eliminate all that stands in the way of this intimate love relationship with our Lord.


Psalms 139:23 - 24 (NASB) 23    Search me, O God, and know my heart;     Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24    And see if there be any hurtful way in me,     And lead me in the everlasting way.